It was my final year in seminary. I was a few credit hours and one master’s thesis away from graduating with a master’s degree in theology. Being enrolled in the necessary classes, I set out to write my 100 page thesis.
I was roughly 25 pages into my paper when I needed to turn in my first two chapters for review from my advisers. I saved the file on a floppy disc (yes this was before the days of jump drives), and headed to campus to print off my paper. That is when a funny thing happened on the way to the printer. Actually, I did not think it was that funny. The file got corrupted. It was unsalvageable and unopenable. I lost it all.
Lucky for me, I had the outline still in hand and all the original material. It actually only took me a weekend to work my way back to those 25 pages, but through this process I learned a valuable lesson. It pays to save and save often. It pays to back up your saved copies. If I had made backup copies of my paper, I would not have lost it all that fateful weekend.
Starting that fateful day, and for the rest of that thesis, I saved and saved often. I had each chapter of my paper saved differently and on different discs. I had learned my lesson. When things went bad, I saw my need for saving. What is interesting, though, is that I have not continued that practice today. I am now beginning to work on my doctoral dissertation, and as I begin writing my paper, I no longer feel the need to save and resave all my documents. Why is that? When trouble hits, we realize our need for saving, but when things are going well, we feel fairly indestructible.
Yesterday at Wildwood Community Church, I preached a sermon out of Psalm 27 entitled “Front-page Fear, Lasting Peace.” In this message we saw how we can experience peace in scary times by focusing on the Lord and not the issues on the front-page of our papers. David was able to remain peaceful even as evil men were plotting to kill him, and we can have peace amidst economic and political instability.
At the conclusion of the message yesterday, I brought our attention to David’s words in Psalm 27:14 when he says, “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” When I mentioned this yesterday, I encouraged us to keep our confidence in the Lord even if things got worse in the coming week. I said something to the effect of “You may trust God for your finances today, but will you continue to trust Him on Monday if the stock market plummets another 300 points.” The implication of this point was to encourage us to wait on the Lord and keep our trust in Him even if things look troubled.
As I write this tonight, I am looking at a stock market that had record gains today. As I watch these times improve dramatically, I reflected on what I said yesterday. I actually began to rethink my statement. For certain, we need to wait on the Lord and keep trusting in Him if things get worse, but you know what? When things get better we need to wait on the Lord and keep trusting Him as well! In fact, sometimes when things go well, we have more trouble keeping our trust in Christ.
In a sense, when our lives get corrupted, unopenable, and (from our perspective) beyond salvaging, we remember our need for saving. However, when things go well, we tend to operate more in self-sufficiency. It is foolish for me to not save my dissertation, and it is foolish for us to lose our sense of need and trust in the Lord. As our world fluctuates up and down in the coming days, may our source of hope remain securely fastened to the Lord. Christ is our life, and He needs no backup. “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord!”